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Photos courtesy of International Tennis Hall of Fame

By: Drew Hendrickson, Director of Tennis, Fitness, and Summer Programs

On September 16th, 32 students and six staff members from Tenacity made a trip down to the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI to catch the Hall of Fame ITA Grass Court Invitational. Middle school students from all five of our partner middle schools attended, as did students from six partner high schools. Five AmeriCorps Fellows accompanied the trip, which included watching some of the best collegiate tennis players in the country.

After watching some excellent tennis, tennis legend and current Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin, hosted a panel discussion in which student-athletes from Louisiana State University, Columbia University, University of North Carolina, and University of Georgia discussed their development as players, their future goals and how they became so passionate about tennis.

From there, the Tenacity group took a tour of the Tennis Hall of Fame and learned about the great history of the game. We saw the old rackets and formal attire. We quizzed each other on tennis trivia, and several kids experienced the Roger Federer hologram display.

For most students, though, the highlight was getting to play. We played for an hour on the facility’s indoor courts, and our event contact, Brentan Debysingh, Marketing and Communications Manager for the International Tennis Hall of Fame, saw our students come alive.

“It is incredible work that you are doing with these kids,” Brentan shared as he observed our students. “This game is not accessible to a lot of people, and to see these kids play with such joy and exuberance means a lot to me, more than you know. These kids were incredible all day, watching, asking great questions of the players, and soaking it all in. They really come alive when they play tennis though. It’s truly awesome to have you here.”

The feeling is mutual. Going to the Hall of Fame for that great event is a wonderful experience for our students, and we look forward to attending in the years to come. We are so thankful for the reception we get at the Tennis Hall of Fame, and for the great experience.

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